Kevin Hart, Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show

With the now-hostless Oscars hurtling toward us in February, the comic responsible for the Academy’s decision that an Oscar host is just too damn much trouble continued his TV apology tour on Wednesday’s Late Show. Or, rather, Kevin Hart continued his non-apology tour, as he reiterated the litany of “I’m over it”s the comedian deployed earlier on that day’s Good Morning America. The Late Show’s host (since The Late Show still has a host) Stephen Colbert attempted to ease into the issue of Hart’s history of homophobic tweets and stand-up jokes, starting off the interview (booked technically to talk about Hart’s role in The Intouchables remake, The Upside) by noting, “You’ve been in the news lately.”

“What?,” joked Hart in feigned surprise, before the comic basically repeated what he’d said earlier that day to GMA’s Michael Strahan. Colbert, knowing that Hart’s position on the issue appears to have solidified into that one phrase, yet attempted to draw Hart out a bit further. Carefully reading out Hart’s extensive explanation of why he will “not say anything else” about the controversy, Colbert gestured deliberately to his notecards, paused long enough to make Hart fidget, and then asked, “Anything else you wanna say about it?” With Hart telling Colbert “You can do what you want,” Colbert agreed, rather surprisingly busting out the colloquially profane, “I know, it’s my show, I’ll do whatever the fuck I want, man.” It played more like playful tension-busting than hostility, but, still, there was tension to be busted.

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As to what Hart had to say (again, about the unearthed cache of homophobic slurs and anti-gay sentiments some cursory research discovered), the comedian essentially reiterated the sentiment that he’s done enough and he doesn’t want to talk about the issue anymore. With Colbert offering up his own history of offending people (including, in one case, the LGBTQ community) in kinship, Hart blurted out, “Because you’re human,” and greeted the intermittent smatterings of audience applause as vindication. “See? They understand—they seem to get it,” stated Hart, pointing into Colbert’s audience. The key to Hart’s lengthy answer to Colbert’s question (since he did, in fact, have more to say), was that he’s done enough, and that those members of the gay community and others who think he’s acting like a self-entitled, defensive, begrudgingly, performatively apologetic prima donna should just get over it, already.

Colbert (while tellingly never actually mentioning the substance of the remarks Hart has had to apologize for) did attempt to address Hart’s me-centric stance in the face of the ongoing controversy, noting that, as a performer, “I found that it’s over when the audience is over it, and not when I’m over it.” Hart, as noted however, is over it. To Colbert’s prodding that, as entertainers, it’s hard to disregard your audience’s displeasure, Hart responded immediately, “Not really—it depends on the level of entertainer that you are.” For Hart, that means that the onus is entirely on his audience (or those who just caught the most ignorantly homophobic parts of his shtick in passing) move on, since, as he put it, “There is no version of me that’s fake.” That despite the fact that Hart’s claims to have previously apologized for his anti-gay statements turned out to be a lie. As to his now-useless Oscars material, Hart assured Colbert that it would have been “fire,” although his stated comic theme that “We’re so sensitive” hints that, maybe, a host-less (or Hart-less) Oscars isn’t such a bad idea.

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